It’s a Great Catch

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What’s for breakfast?

Campfire 2
This week’s Gospel is one of my favorite stories about Jesus in the Bible.  One reason is obvious.  Jesus rose from the dead and appears to the Apostles and disciples numerous times proving that he definitely has risen.

Talking to kids and teens at classes this week, I talked about what this story says to me about not only Jesus, but myself.  What does God want us to know about him?

As I began the story with Peter and the disciples in the boat approaching shore, a couple of things came to mind that I may not have thought about before!

A night of exhaustion and discouragement for disciples that are reeling from the loss of their rabbi leads to an extraordinary event.  A man they don’t recognize who seems to taunt them by highlighting their failure to catch any fish asks them if they caught anything to eat.  Then he says, “Throw your net over the right side of the boat.”

I asked the kids and teens if they thought fish slept.  Have they ever gone fishing?  Maybe half had said that they had been fishing.  I recalled all of the times that I fished with my Dad and brother who are quite expert and experienced with this pastime.  I have eaten all kinds of caught fish that have been cleaned and descaled.  Yuck! Many times, I would hear stories of how the fish were congregating in just a few areas on the lake.  A good fisherman knows where those prime spots are.

Of course, fish don’t sleep.  The kids thought that idea was funny.  Peter and his friends had worked all night by the light of the moon.  This was their job, their livelihood.  How discouraging and exhausting it must have been to arrive at shore with nothing to show for it!

I could identify with the experience of failure.  And there was nothing for breakfast.  They didn’t catch anything.  They would go home hungry.

The man on the shore says to throw your net over the right side.  Did they believe him?  How many times have I known that God is asking me to keep going and to try again?  So they did it.  They tried another time.  I wondered aloud why Jesus said to put the net over the right side.  Had they been fishing on the left side?  Why?  I asked the teens if they realized that ‘right’ has two meanings.  It could mean the direction or correct.  Had they been fishing on the wrong side?  Was the right side the right way to fish?  Was Jesus telling us that we have tried over and over again to do it our way?  Maybe we should try it his way now.  The Priest at our Family Mass talked about how we need to follow God’s will.

Jesus promises that if we throw out our ‘net’ like he asks, we may find a net that’s overflowing.  As the kids guessed at what happens next, they thought the net would break.  The net doesn’t tear or break under the weight of 153 large fish.   We often think we won’t be able to do it.  We think that our net will break or we don’t have the best ‘net’ for the task.  God promises to strengthen our net.  If we trust him, he will help us.

So Peter and the disciples find out that if they try again, their efforts will pay off.  They recognize Jesus in this miracle.  He then offers to make them breakfast!

So as I ended our reflection, I asked the kids to give me three things they learned from this story, I explained why I thought the breakfast was the best part.

Jesus is waiting on shore to make you breakfast.  I asked about the meal that he wants to give us now.  Among their guesses was the revelation of the Eucharist that we receive during the Mass.  I pointed to the altar table.  We are invited to this table for a meal that Jesus has prepared for us.  Are we coming to the table?  Jesus gives us himself in this extraordinary bread at every Mass.  He’s hoping that after our long journey out in the world doing the things we need to do. that he asks us to do, we will get the nourishment that we need.

Why would we miss it?

Gone Fishing_Bass

Stay tuned for more………

Dusting required

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Are you a prophet?  Are you spreading the Good News?  Not an easy job.  Amos (7:12-15) says he was not a prophet but a shepherd.  God told him to ‘Go’.  It wasn’t enough to be a prophet but he needed to lead and guide, too.

St. Paul tells the Ephesians (1:3-14) and us too, that God has blessed us with every spiritual blessing and has chosen us to be holy.  He always seems to be encouraging us.  St. Paul reminds us that we should put on the armor of God in Chapter 6 of Ephesians.  He tries to explain what he means with an analogy his audience would be familiar with.  You have what you need to step up to the plate (using an analogy you might be more familiar with).  You can hit it out of the park!  You just need the bat, correct stance and a clear head.

In the Gospel, Jesus sends the Apostles out to heal others.  He says not to worry about whether anyone listens.  I thought about the example of shaking the dust off of your feet.  You may not have experienced walking in sandals for a long distance and collecting dust on your feet and shoes.  Maybe you have?  Dusting could be wiping home plate clean.  You need to keep your perspective.  You won’t always get a home run but whether you are the runner or the ump you should be able to see the plate. Duster

Have you ever seen someone slide into home plate?  The dust flies.  They pray they don’t get tagged out before touching the plate.  Their heart is beating fast.  They are taking a chance, but they have hope.  If they timed it right and the other team’s player throws a bit off, they have got it!  Some of us know that feeling of a school assignment or job task that gets put off to the last minute.  You need to power through and get it done.  You pray for the home run and a job well done!

A few things in the Gospel stood out to me.  ‘Don’t take anything with you but you’re walking stick and sandals.’  Depending on God for everything you need takes a very strong faith – trust.  My first thought was that a walking stick is like a crutch.  Most of us think having a crutch is a bad thing or a sign of weakness.  We are supposed to be able to stand ‘on our own two feet.’  But God tells us over and over that we need someone or something to lean on in order to get through this life.  A walking stick helps you make it over rough terrain and climb mountains.  It gives you balance and strength.  Why not use YOUR walking stick?

HikerFor us, a walking stick may be a friend, a priest or spiritual director, a spouse, a parent or your Bible.  I can’t imagine going anywhere without grace and what better place to get filled up for the journey than the Eucharist at Mass.  Fed by the Word and Body, we can make it.  God promised us.

So remember, when you are called to lead, we don’t need to take anything with us because God has giving us what we need.  We can change the world and people’s lives with just a word.  Jesus is sending you!  Are you ready?  Do you have your walking stick and sandals?

~ Readings for Sunday, July 12, 2015

Calm in the Storm…Get in the boat!

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In the midst of the violent storm, Jesus sleeps in the boat and the disciples are afraid.  The disciples ask Jesus, ‘Don’t you care?’ He calms the storm and says, ‘Why are you afraid?’ Mark 4:35-41

So how big is your faith?  Can you trust that Jesus is with you in the storms of your life?

This is one of my favorite Scriptures when I feel like all is lost or a situation is hopeless!  I have recently had a moment where I said to God, “You promised me You would give me what I need when I need it!”  You said that Your grace is sufficient for me! (See 2 Cor 12:1-10)

Over and over again, Jesus says to us, “Why are you worried?  Your faith is so small!”  I think I totally felt like maybe God doesn’t really care.

I have to give the disciples a bit of credit.  Not only were they in the boat (Jesus told them to and they listened), they brought Jesus with them!

There is an important element that brings me back out of my darkness or despair is my friends.  Funny how the disciples are all together in the boat.  That didn’t seem to help.  They needed to go wake Jesus up.  They go to the One who can really help save them.   While that was my ultimate go to – I prayed and talked to God, it was my husband and friends who were Jesus in the flesh for me.  They were the ones who could help me through and give me hope.  This is it!  If we aren’t hope for others, we are not living the way Christ wanted us to.  So check in with your friends, offer some hopeful words and help them carry their burdens.  You might even need to get in the boat!